Why do tracklog distance and ascent differ between GPS and mobile apps?

Those of us who have taken to technology to aid us in our navigation and record GPS tracklogs and stats for the routes that we enjoy can now use either a standalone GPS unit or a mobile phone with a GPS app.

However anyone who has used both to record details of a walk will know that the data recorded (for example distance and ascent) is never the same even when used side-by-side on the same walk. We are often asked what it is about GPS that makes this happen?

Well, a GPS is made up of many things including an aerial to receive the signal from the satellites, a chip to process the data once received and then the software to calculate and record position.

Imagine a portable radio as an analogy; they are all designed for receiving the same signal, but the quality of aerial and electronics in your radio makes a huge difference as to whether it will pick up the broadcast and the quality of sound you’ll hear. Similarly every GPS is capable of receiving the same satellite signals but those with better aerials will receive more satellite signals and the more you can receive the more accurate your position.

A good standalone GPS unit will generally have a better aerial and better processing, but mobiles are catching up fast and try different mobile apps to see if the app itself makes a difference. Of course we’d recommend that the Memory-Map app is the first one you should test…so try a FREE Test Drive and compare stats with your own or a friends GPS next time you go for a walk.

We’d love to hear your results!

Dedicated GPS vs Smartphone GPS

TX3 blogGarmin’s Android-based Monterra of 2013 could download apps and do pretty much everything a smartphone could do; except of course make a phone call.

But the waterproof, impact resistant hybrid phone from Memory-Map that makes calls, downloads apps, takes photos, plays music – and works as a dedicated, fully-featured GPS addressed that ‘communication problem.’

The TX3 is a mix of Memory-Map’s mapping know-how, the Android operating system, and hardware from a partner brand called Seals.

The handset comes with mapping for the whole of Britain at either OS Landranger scale 1:50,000 (£299) or Explorer 1:25,000 (£369). Or you can pay £449 for the Platinum package – Streetmap, Landranger and Explorer, together on the same phone.*

In comparison with an iPhone, it’s clear the TX3 has the look and size of a phone rather than a GPS unit, meaning it’s truly pocket-size. But it comes with a waterproof and impact-proof casing and in reality you could use your TX3 as your only smartphone.

It’s probably more likely you’ll keep your regular phone and use the TX3 as your main GPS and ‘back-up’ phone, with a Pay-As-You-Go SIM so you can make phone calls in an emergency. We believe that after several months’ use with the TX3 though, users might switch and make the TX3 their only phone when their main phone contract is up for renewal.

The TX3 uses the excellent Memory-Map functionality, which is exactly the same as you’ll find on the Memory-Map Android app. Using the Android system, the TX3 can also add other apps, take photos and store music, and that’s something to dance about.

* Prices as at 22.09.2015

Edit and update your maritime charts with Memory-Map

An Admiralty Notice to Mariners (NM) is an update or alteration to a marine chart to ensure that the best information is available for the safe and effective planning and navigation of voyages.

Every year the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) issues over 5,000 NMs which allow mariners to update their charts with the latest safety-critical information.

mmm14_offshore_600_1Each NM is compiled using the same highly reliable data as that used to produce the regular Admiralty nautical charts, and mariners are kept up to date via the weekly online Leisure Notices to Mariners service on the UKHO website: www.ukho.gov.uk/leisure

Many leisure mariners, in believing that “rocks don’t move,” tend to overlook the importance of chart updates. However, changes in buoyage and lights, new wrecks, temporary obstructions or changes in depth to rivers and estuaries are all examples of updates to charts that are critical for safe navigation.

Updating is easy and there is advice on how to do this on the UKHO website, from using pens direct onto the paper charts to the pasting and imposition of colour blocks. The updating of Memory-Map marine charts is just as simple.

First, if you’ve not done so already set the co-ordinates in Memory-Map to display as Lat/Long using the Mode > Position Format > Lat, Long > Deg, Min setting.

Then use the Mark button to place a mark on the screen and drag or edit the properties to put it in the right place. The properties box also allows you to change the name, symbol and add notes.

Finally, we recommend ticking the ‘Locked’ box to lock the mark in position so you don’t then accidentally drag it to the wrong place some time in the future!

Before updating you should determine if the NM is applicable to your chart and vessel. You may decide that it isn’t relevant; for example, changes to a very deep sounding or a new cable in very deep water are not necessarily of interest to the leisure mariner. You should also be aware that NMs are applicable only to current editions and charts, and not past editions.

Be safe on the water this summer with up-to-date nautical charts. The intuitive and easy to use software with Memory-Map digital marine charts can be used on your PC, iPhone, iPad or Android device. The complete folio of over 850 high quality raster charts covering all of the UK, Ireland and the Channel Islands is sourced from data obtained from the UKHO and look identical to the paper charts you use on board.

Read more here


When it comes to walking, France offers something for everyone

France is a big country so there is loads of good walking to experience. In fact in some regions there is enough to keep you occupied for a whole fortnight’s holiday.

mmFrom taking a gentle stroll through timeless Gascony or the majestic Loire Valley, to easy coastal walking in Brittany or a challenging hike amid the peaks of the Pyrenees, one constant piece of kit you should have with you is an accurate mapping device.

The best walking maps for France are from the mapping agency IGN. Paper versions can usually be bought in local supermarkets, but you can get the new 2015 digital IGN 1:100,000 or 1:25,000 scale maps from Memory-Map. They use intuitive and easy to use software and cover all of France. They can also be used on up to five devices including Windows PC, iPhone, iPad or Android.

They are great for longer walks, road cycling and general leisure use, and show footpaths, bridleways and other rights of way along with thousands of points of interest. If you are looking to explore beautiful river valleys and unspoiled medieval villages, choose the Dordogne or the Tarn. Further south, the allure of Provence, with its lavender fields and sleepy stone hamlets, is hard to beat.

Don’t forget the climate in France is different from Britain so it will be considerably hotter walking in summer and a good hat and sun cream are always advisable. Even in summer however there can be late snow on the higher passes in the Alps and the Pyrenees so it is always worth checking the situation before you head off. You can ring Meteo France from your mobile (3250) for a local forecast including for mountain areas.

Those of you heading off to tour First World War battlefields in France can also view hundreds of detailed original British trench maps from the Somme and other theatres of war from the Memory-Map historical range.